Panda Express now serving customers in Alabang

A few months ago, Panda Express Philippines made its presence in Muntinlupa City felt when they opened a branch at the Shell gas station on the southbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Very recently, their presence got felt again as they opened a new branch in Alabang area and already they are attracting a lot of customers.

Panda Express’ newest branch is located at the corner of the Alabang-Zapote Road and Madrigal Avenue. The said branch is located right beside Jollibee and are part of the Molito Complex. The commercial space occupied by Panda Express Alabang (also referred to as Panda Express Madrigal) was a Chowking branch.

Panda Express in Alabang at the corner of Alabang-Zapote Road and Madrigal Avenue.

For the newcomers reading this, Panda Express started in Glendale, California in the United States in 1983 and expanded worldwide with over two thousand branches. Within South Metro Manila, Panda Express has a branch at Doña Soledad Avenue in Parañaque City and also one at the basement level of SM Southmall in Las Piñas City.

With regards to food, Panda Express’ most notable food is its Orange Chicken (note: chicken nuggets with a unique texture and taste). They also offer Black Pepper Steak, Mongolian Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, Beijing Beef, Broccoli Beef, Eggplant Tofu, Fried Rice, Chow Mein and Mixed Vegetables to name some.

The food for customers’ to choose from inside Panda Express.

If you will be visiting a Panda Express for the first time ever, you will have to adjust yourselves to the restaurant’s use of terms such as entrées and sides when you select the meals you want to eat. Don’t feel intimidated as the restaurant has personnel who will explain things to you and guide you.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are you excited to try out the food served by Panda Express now that they have a branch in Alabang? If you are an Alabang resident, do you think Panda Express has what it takes to compete and survive given the fact that the Alabang commercial areas are filled with lots of restaurants already? If you were able to eat at a Panda Express restaurant before, which particular meal did you enjoy the most from them?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Search for the five best restaurants of Las Piñas City is ongoing

Recently, a special search for the best restaurants in the city was launched by the City Government of Las Piñas which involves the Nutrition Office and the Tourism Office, the Manila Bulletin reported. This ongoing search emphasizes local restaurants, nutrition and even tourism.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Las Piñas city government launched the search for the five best restaurants in the city that serve the best delicacies that will help promote the city as a culinary destination.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the search for the five best restaurants is a project of the Nutrition Office under the leadership of Dr. Julio Javier and the Tourism Office under Paul San Miguel.

Aguilar said the search is also in preparation for the celebration of Nutrition Month in July where the winners will receive special tokens of appreciation from the City Nutrition Office.

She said the Tourism Office will promote the city’s best delicacies to both local and foreign tourists.

She added that the winners will be featured in the city’s official Facebook page and Nutrition Office.

The above article ended with Mayor Aguilar stating that the winners of the special search will be featured in the official Facebook page of the City Government and that of the Nutrition Office. Watch out for updates about this search at https://www.facebook.com/cityoflaspinasofficial and also at https://m.facebook.com/MayorImeldaAguilar/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Is there any particular local restaurant that you had visited time and time again? Did that particular local restaurant consistently produce delicious meals each time you ordered? What kinds of meals do you enjoy whenever you eat in a local restaurant?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

My return to Xtremely Xpresso Café in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

During my most recent visit at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, I took the opportunity to revisit key places around as it has been more than two years since my previous visit. On the afternoon of April 30 (just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon happened), I took time out to revisit Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here, here and here) located at Dewey Street corner Sta. Rita Road.

Xtremely Xpresso Café is more than just a place to enjoy good coffee. It is also a restaurant that sells to its customers a good variety of tasty meals from pizza to pasta, rice meals and others. The very first time I visited the food joint was in the early 2000s. Through the years I had coffee there during my solo visits and there were also times that I was with the family enjoying pizza and their meals. Xtremely Xpresso’s pizzas were always delicious and filling to enjoy with friends or family.

Xtremely Xpresso Subic Bay Freeport branch on the day I returned.

Going back to my April 30 afternoon visit, I easily recognized Xtremely Xpresso upon arrival. What I found interesting was that the place was bustling with customers both indoors (where it is air conditioned) and outdoors as if life was back to normal (note: Alert Level 1 status was in effect on the Subic Bay Freeport Zone back then). I saw some groups of people, couples and individual customers enjoying their meals and drinks on the outdoor area (note: lots of seats and tables with shade) and the simmering heat of the day did not seem to bother them at all.

Then I entered and saw the ever familiar-looking interior. Almost all the seats and tables were filled up by customers who mostly came in groups or pairs. Everywhere I looked, I saw people really enjoying their food and drinks, and having quality time together. As such, I decided to order a drink and dessert and have the waiter serve them to me at a seat outdoors.

I took sat at a place where there was enough shade to protect me from the sun. While the heat was obvious, there were moments I felt some relief in the form of coolness from the occasional wind coming from the sea water several meters away. After about ten minutes waiting, the waiter served to me the cheesecake slice and the Shockwave Xtreme Frappe’ that I ordered.

The cheesecake I ordered at Xtremely Xpresso.
A close look at a portion of the cheesecake.

As I was seated outdoors, I did not want to let the sun and the summer heat ruin the cheesecake so I started consuming it portion by portion. Each bite of it was smooth and in terms of taste, it had a mild sweetness to it. More notably, it tasted like any cheesecake. In terms of content, it is thick and long enough for me. As such, Xtremely Xpresso’s cheesecake slice is good enough.

Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave frappe was cold coffee with some chocolate to its taste with a creamy aesthetic. In my experience sipping it moderately, the Shockwave had a moderate sweetness to it and I felt a creamy coffee and chocolate taste. It was during the remaining small amount I sipped when I suddenly felt a sweetened taste. Then the drink ran out. Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave is a frappe that is completely different from what other coffee shops here in the Philippines offered. I can say it is a good drink to have at Xtremely Xpresso.

The Shockwave frappe was mildly sweet and had a coffee and chocolate taste.

So my recent visit at Xtremely Xpresso in Subic Bay was good one. I would not hesitate to return there and next time, I would definitely order a meal, a different drink and something else. In my previous dining experiences there with my family, I enjoyed the taste of their Big Ben pizza, the Seafood Pesto pizza, the Creamy Cheese Penne and their Spinach Omelette. All of those and a lot more are still being offered to customers.

While securing an indoor seat and table is challenging, be assured that there are a lot more tables and seats outside. In fact, having breakfast and coffee outdoors is a fresh and comfortable experience as the sun is not too intense in the morning.

For those of you reading this, if you are planning to visit Subic Bay and you want good food and drinks to enjoy, I encourage you to visit Xtremely Xpresso.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMPC)

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A wonderful lunch at Gourmet Garage Subic

When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.

After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).

The front of Gourmet Garage Subic!

Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.

As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.

While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.

The Caesar of Gourmet Garage.
A closer look.

The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!

Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.

The Lamb Madras Curry was so nicely prepared and it tasted great!

The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.

As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.

A piece of lamb by the fork.

I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.

The Lamb Madras Curry from the side.

Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!

Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.

Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.

Looking for a new bottle of wine to buy? So many to choose here!
Bread and pastry offered.
Drinks, snacks, condiments and other nice products on display.

As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.

This is a great place to have your picture taken inside Gourmet Garage Subic!

The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (TPT)

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Come to Subic Bay for the big triathlon event on May 1, 2022

If you are looking for nice place for vacation and you also want to watch a triathlon event live, then you should come to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone where the 2022 edition of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) will be held at on May 1, 2022 (for external references, click here, here, here and here).

For the triathlon enthusiasts who just visited this blog for the first time, the SUBIT is the major Philippine triathlon event that immediately precedes the 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam which itself will open formally on May 12 (references here, here and here) and it will have their own triathlon and duathlon medal events. 2019 SEA Games gold medalists John Chicano and Marion Kim Mangrobang are the favorites for the multisport medal events in this year’s SEA Games but before those games do happen, you will get to see them both as well as the other Philippine Team triathletes in action at the SUBIT.

The big event at Subic Bay on May 1.

For a quick look at who the Philippine Team triathletes are racing and what impact SUBIT had on Philippine triathlon in general, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin sports news report. Some parts in boldface…

The race is actually a tuneup for the PH team going to the biennial meet where it aims to maintain its 1-2 finish in the men’s and women’s division.

Racing in SUBIT are Fer Casares, Kim Remolino, John Chicano, Kim Mangrobang, Raven Alcoseba and Lauren Plaza.

The SUBIT will be a good tuneup race for our SEAG-bound athletes, especially sa game strategy,” said Triathlon Association President Tom Carrasco.

SUBIT has been at the forefront of development of Filipino triathletes. I’m proud to say that SUBIT has produced Southeast Asian Games champions and notable Asian Games performers.

Among the SUBIT products were SEAG winners Chicano, Mangrobang, Nikko Huelgas and (Claire) Adorna, Youth Olympics qualifier Vicky Deldio, Columbia World Games qualifiers Carlo Pedregosa and Mirasol Abad, Birmingham World Games qualifier Casares, and 2018 Asian Games top 10 finisher Kim Kilgroe.

Meanwhile, Cebu-based junior triathlete Moira Frances Erediano, who topped a triathlon event in Dumaguete City very recently, is also joining the May 1 SUBIT.

This year’s SUBIT – formally called the NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) 2022 – will have race distances of 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run (Standard Distance), 750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run (Sprint Distance) and 500 M – 13 Km bike – 2.5 Km run (Super Sprint Distance) which will cover lots of places in the freeport. With regards to schedules, posted below are the details sourced from the event page at RaceYaya.com

Pay close attention to this.

This year’s SUBIT is a joint project of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and I Love Fun-tastic Subic Bay supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, FINIS Philippines, Gatorade, Subic Bay Travelers Hotel, POCARI Sweat, and Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines Inc.

Where to enjoy food and drinks in Subic Bay?

Visit Gourmet Garage and Xtremely Xpresso on your next visit to Subic Bay.

Apart from being a sports tourism hot spot, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone also has nice places where you and your family or group of friends can spend time at and enjoy good food and drinks together such as Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here) and Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here and here) to name a few. Personally, I enjoyed the two mentioned places a lot during my past visits. I would suggest you who read this to visit them on your next visit to Subic Bay.

Located at 1143 Argonaut Highway (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there), Gourmet Garage Subic is one very fine place to dine in with others and their cooks specialize preparing really tasty meals such as the Truffle BBQ Orange Baby Back Ribs, the Grilled Salmon Tamari Quinoa, Grilled Javier’s Burger, Sake-marinated Fish Fillet, the Lamb Madras Curry, Gourmet Garage’s Beef Tapa and their signature pasta the Luglug Spaghettini to name a few. Looking for drinks, snacks, cakes, condiments and bread? They have them too! Their venue also has a fine-looking design. If you have any catering needs, they are willing to serve you.

Over at 1 Dewey Avenue corner Sta. Rita Road in the freeport, Xtremely Xpresso is a café that offers customers really good coffee plus meals that families and friends can enjoy together. For the coffee lovers, they got the Jump-start Espresso, Vienna Coffee, White Mocha and Vietnamese Coffee plus their very own lineup of frappe’s such as the Shockwave, the Coffee Cradle and Ekimocha to name a few. For those looking for hearty meals, they have Baby Back Ribs, Korean Beef Ribs, Salisbury Steak, the Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich, pasta and their Big Ben pizza!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited to visit Subic Bay for the May 1 triathlon event and the local places to enjoy good food? When was the last time you visited Subic Bay?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

COVID-19 Crisis: DTI says restaurants in MECQ areas are allowed to have outdoor dining

In what is clearly a move with economic recovery in mind, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez declared that restaurants (located in places under MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine status) with outdoor dining services and set-ups are allowed to resume but with certain limitations.

To make things clear, below is an excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article which was published just yesterday. For greater emphasis, some parts are in bold.

In a text message to reporters Sunday night, Lopez said food establishments with alfresco dining services are only allowed up to 50 percent capacity, with diagonal seating arrangement and acrylic dividers on tables.

He added that indoor dine-in services are still not allowed in areas under MECQ, but food establishments can continue to operate with their take-out and delivery services.

From April 12 to 30, the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the NCR Plus as well as Santiago City in Isabela, and the provinces of Quirino and Abra were also placed under MECQ.

Earlier, the DTI chief said that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) might be sensitive in allowing indoor dine-in due to the highly contagious new variants of Covid-19.

“The IATF recommended to the President to shift to MECQ after two weeks of ECQ to restore more jobs and livelihood for the people,” Lopez said.

Clearly the local authorities are trying hard to balance themselves between economics and public health as new cases of COVID-19 (China Virus) continue to be counted in very high numbers on a daily basis in recent times. On April 2, the count of infections reached over 15,000.

Going back to the issue of allowing restaurants with outdoor dining (AKA alfresco) within the MECQ areas, it is good news that they are allowed to resume operations. It will still be a challenge for food establishments to attract enough paying customers and make their business’ financial ends meet.

On a personal experience, I love eating ramen and Tsukemen at Sigekiya Ramen in Alabang. I prefer that such meals would be cooked by the restaurant and be served to me at a table at their place. The alternative of taking the cooked ramen out and consume it at home is just not a convincing option for me because ramen is meant to be consumed quickly while it is hot. The alternative of taking home ingredients and noodles, and have them cooked at home does not appeal to me as I prefer Sigekiya’s cooks make the meal I paid for.

A delicious meal like this one is best to be eaten at the restaurant, even outdoors.

Also located in Alabang is the local branch of Akrotiri, a really fine restaurant that serves authentic Greek meals that my family and friends enjoyed. They also have meals that, in my opinion, are best consumed at their place and their Alabang branch (Commercenter to be precise) has space for outdoor dining. It was at Akrotiri Alabang where I treated 2019 SEA Games gold medalist Kim Mangrobang to a meal and organized an exclusive interview with her. They really have a fine-looking place. Visit their website at https://akrotiri.ph/

It is important to keep in mind that restaurants around the nation have struggled a lot since the pandemic started last year. These business establishments are also struggling with retaining their respective employees, notably their cooks, the baristas, waiters and waitresses. Remember that the meals and drinks you enjoy would not be the same when the people who prepared them get laid off.

With the DTI’s declaration of allowing food establishments with outdoor dining setups and services to resume, I encourage you my readers to consider supporting these businesses for your food and beverage needs. If you can’t have a meal with the family outdoors, perhaps you can push through with a business meeting with a corporate associate or reunite with your friend or relative with the outdoor setting of a restaurant while adhering to health protocols (wearing face masks, face shields, sanitizing yourselves, etc.). 

Now, let’s observe how the mayors, the barangay captains and other local authorities in MECQ areas will react to DTI’s declaration. You also might want to check with the local restaurants and coffee shops if they allow outdoor dining. Consider taking time out to call them or verify on their respective social media channels/accounts to see if outdoor dining is allowed.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

For Shakey’s Philippines, 2021 will be a bounce-back year

It has been almost fifty years since Shakey’s first opened here in the Philippines and went on to become one of the most defining restaurants that families visit for very delicious meals, especially when it comes to pizza. Shakey’s has over 200 stores (both franchised and owned by the company) nationwide according to details posted in the Shakey’s Philippines website. Its strong presence in the Philippines was confirmed in 2015 when Euromonitor published a report showing that Shakey’s is the market leader in the categories of chained pizza full-service restaurants and in chained full-service restaurants. The results for both categories were 26.7% and 57.7% market shares.

Along the way, Shakey’s Philippines has a sibling business called Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken which has a growing number of outlets. Inside BF Homes subdivision in Parañaque City, the Shakey’s branch along Aguirre Avenue has a Peri-Peri outlet right beside it.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected businesses and societies in 2020. It was so severe, the Philippine economy shrank by a record 9.5%. As of this writing, a whole lot of people around the nation remain unemployed and more people fell under poverty.

The year 2021, however, will be different as far as Shakey’s Philippines is concerned. The company just announced that they will open fifteen new Shakey’s branches as well as fifteen new Peri-Peri outlets this year. These are parts of their plan to restart a store network expansion strategy that was put on hold last year due to the pandemic. Below is an excerpt from Shakey’s press release published on Philippine News Agency (PNA).

“For Shakey’s, we are looking to further strengthen the brand’s visibility and awareness, especially in underpenetrated second and third-tier cities outside of Metro Manila. For Peri, there are still a number of unserved markets which don’t have access to the brand’s great-tasting products,” Shakey’s president and chief executive officer Vicente Gregorio said.

Last 2020, the company ended with 245 Shakey’s restaurants, three of which were located abroad, and 34 Peri outlets all located in the Philippines.

It also launched a number of new offerings in select outlets including the ability for guests to ‘Park & Dine’, ‘Park & Order’, eat outdoors, and order R&B milk tea -one of the leading milk tea brands in Singapore.

“With evolving consumer habits brought about by the pandemic, our network expansion strategy has likewise adapted to ensure we maximize both our in-store and out-of-store presence. Our new openings this year will cater not only to our guests’ dine-in preference, but also their increasing need for more convenient and flexible out-of-store options,” Gregorio said.

He said Shakey’s will be unveiling a number of so-called ghost kitchens or kitchen extensions “to further strengthen our presence in delivery” at a time when off-premise channels are gaining prominence.

In the last few months, the company has been piloting a ‘31 Minute Delivery, If It’s Late, It’s Free’ guarantee in select areas in Metro Manila.

Gregorio added the company’s planned expansion this year “will come hand in hand with other exciting new business innovations that will maximize our existing asset base.”

“2021 will definitely be an exciting ‘bounce-back’ year,” he said.

As you can see in the above details, Shakey’s Philippines continues to push forward with their business and strategies even during this COVID-19 crisis. This is indeed encouraging not only for the business-minded people but also to Shakey’s many loyal customers as well as other food enthusiasts who love pizza, pasta and other meals served by the company.

In my experience, Shakey’s always serve very delicious fried chicken, mojos and spaghetti.

As Shakey’s president and CEO Gregorio stated, their company is taking steps on keeping up with the changing consumer habits and, more notably, they are making their business accessible to the consumers. In short, Shakey’s Philippines won’t allow itself to be a victim of change but rather be a part of it and keep on feeding the customers. That being said, 2021 is for them a bounce-back year.

Now that you have read this, I’d like to ask when was the last time you eat inside a Shakey’s? Have you ordered food from them lately? What is the first type of food that comes to your mind when you hear their brand?

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For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

House of Lasagna to open new branch in BF Homes this March!

Are you fond of delicious lasagna and dining along Aguirre Avenue inside BF Homes Subdivision, Parañaque City with your friends or family members? Well, you will be happy to learn that popular lasagna maker and restaurant chain House of Lasagana announced recently via social media that it will open a brand new branch in BF Homes this coming March!

The big announcement from the Facebook page of House of Lasagna.

Their Facebook announcement goes as follows: To our House of Lasagna family in the south, we heard you!!! We are finally opening a branch near you all to serve you better! We are beyond excited to bring fresher and hotter lasagnas into every home in the south! Delivery is way faster too! We can’t wait for opening day when we can all welcome you into our HOUSE in the SOUTH. We are located along Aguirre Ave. BF Homes Paranaque. See you all very soon!

For the newcomers reading this, House of Lasagna is an Italian inspired restaurant chain that first started in 2009 in the City of San Juan, established by Chef Erick Congmon. Since then, House of Lasagana expanded around Metro Manila and I personally enjoyed a delicious meal at their SM MOA branch back in 2018.

Back to the south, opening a restaurant in BF Homes brings House of Lasagna closer to the residents and food enthusiasts of South Metro Manila given the fact that the subdivision itself is connected with not only Parañaque but also with the cities of Muntinlupa and Las Piñas. Imagine how many people living in the varied villages of Alabang, BF Resort, Barangay BF Homes and other nearby populated zones would come into BF Homes for House of Lasagna which has already established its credibility of serving very delicious food that are well cooked.

In line with its business name, House of Lasagna has a fine selection of lasagnas that customers can choose from based on their taste such as beef lasagna, chicken lasagna, three-cheese lasagna, vegetable lasagna, pesto lasagna and others.

I personally recommend their beef lasagna which is of top-notch quality! Last Christmas, a friend of mine gifted me and my family with one whole beef lasagna of House of Lasagna delivered by motorcycle. I can share to you all reading this that each bite I had of the beef lasagna really tasted good and the pasta used is smooth yet firm to chew on. It was so tasty, condiments were not necessary anymore.

This is the beef lasagna of House of Lasagna that was delivered to our home last Christmas thanks to a very generous friend of mine.
A close look at my first serving of House of Lasagna’s beef lasagna.

Other than lasagna, they also sell southern-style fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, creamy pesto and chicken wings to name some. As if that was not enough, House of Lasagna also offers cakes and pastries!

Now that you know the news about House of Lasagna BF Homes branch, I encourage you to share this article and details to other food enthusiasts you know. On my end, once House of Lasagna announces the exact date as to when their BF Homes branch will open, I will update you all.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

My Observations: Mang Pandesal with SPAM

Let me start by making clear to you all that I love eating the pandesal (a roll of bread common in the Philippines) sold by Mang Pandesal located at El Grande Avenue corner Tropical Avenue in BF International, Las Piñas City. Every day they sell freshly baked pandesal that is both affordable (at P2 each as of this writing) and very delicious. Mang Pandesal is so good, many times lines of customers are formed just outside of their store, as well as vehicles suddenly parking nearby with a driver or a passenger coming out to line up and buy pandesal. If you are not familiar with Mang Pandesal, check out my opinion piece.

This past weekend, I passed by Mang Pandesal to take home freshly baked bread. Look at the pic below…

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Freshly baked pandesal at Mang Pandesal! Highly recommended!

Normally, I ate Mang Pandesal’s bread standalone because each and every pandesal tastes great. There never was a time I had any bad bread from the BF International baker. This time around, I decided it was high time to experiment something that could be very enjoyable. As such, upon arriving home, I placed the Mang Pandesal bread on the table and pulled out a can of the worldwide favorite meat SPAM.

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The world-famous SPAM canned meat, just with less sodium.

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Some of the Mang Pandesal bread arranged on the small plate for SPAM.

So step by the step, I pulled out some pandesal and carefully cut out slices of SPAM and divided each slice of the meat into three. Each pandesal from Mang Pandesal were cut into half to resemble clamshells. Then carefully I placed each SPAM portion into each pandesal.

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Mang Pandesal’s bread with SPAM meat inserted.

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A shot from above.

With the best tasting pandesal and the best tasting canned meat combined, the result was, unsurprisingly, a very delicious experience and totally enjoyable eat! This is an experience that food enthusiasts should have whenever they have Mang Pandesal bread and SPAM available!

And then out of curiosity, I decided to try another experiment…I decided to try pandesal with SPAM with a thin layer of white cheese added.

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Thin layers of cheese added.

The result? A very creamy taste that’s also very nice for consumption!

Depending how you like your Mang Pandesal bread and SPAM together, you will definitely get a great taste of the two. If you want the cheesy or creamy taste, that is what you will get with pandesal and SPAM with white cheese added.

As such, having Mang Pandesal’s pandesal and SPAM’s meat together is highly recommended! That being said, whether you like meat with your pandesal or you simply want the best pandesal around, I recommend you to go to Mang Pandesal in BF International now and buy.

Let me end this piece with a scripture from the Holy Bible, the Passion Translation to be precise.

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10: 31 (TPT)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Spotlight on BF HomeSarap, The Village Home-Cooked Food Directory

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced by means of interviewing Ditas Antenor. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Spotlight on BF HomeSarap, The Village Home-Cooked Food Directory

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Do you love home-cooked food? Do you love BF Homes, the very large residential-commercial community that occupies portions of Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas? Do you love grouping together on Facebook forming a very lively online community?

If you love all three, then you cannot go wrong with the BF HomeSarap Facebook group!

BF HomeSarap is not just any food-oriented, regional group on the social network. It is one of the fastest growing FB groups that highlights home cooking, good tastes, small enterprise and the BF Homes community members (plus friends).

BF HomeSarap’s growth in terms of membership is truly amazing. The FB group only started on April 2019 and from zero members it attracted to more than eight thousand (8,000+) members as of this writing! By comparison, there are other BF Homes-related (plus Barangay BF Homes-related) FB groups that lasted for years and still their respective memberships were exceeded by BF HomeSarap.

The FB group has described itself to be the resource for delicious home-cooked food (and drinks) right inside the village. As big businesses are prohibited, BF HomeSarap allows foodie sellers to post their specialties by showing pictures of the products, the name of the food or drink, prices and how they are being sold. What is notable about the group is that the people who make food at home are granted valuable opportunities to reach out to other members who might be interested to buy from them. In a business sense, the small food enterprises are able to make themselves known and gain chances to grow not only with selling products but also attracting new customers and establishing new business relationships.

And then something significant happened on December 7 and 8, 2019 – selected BF HomeSarap members came out in full force as sellers in the first-ever BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair and Bazaar which was held at the open-air basketball court and at the nearby covered stretch  inside BF NorthWest, Parañaque City. That community event, which was organized by village governor-at-large Lorea Miren in cooperation with the BF NorthWest Homeowners Association and supported by PARA APP, was a big success as it attracted between 250 to 300 visitors (including Parañaque City Councilors Jackie Bustamante-Mendoza and Wahoo Sotto) and almost all the vendors sold out! Apart from that, a strong spirit of community interaction, business and socializing took place.

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A look at just one section where the first-ever BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair was held inside BF NorthWest. This one was taken at a covered facility near the open-air basketball court (where the other vendors were present and selling too).

With all of these mentioned, you must be wondering: Who started BF HomeSarap in the first place? Why was it established? How did it happen? Where will BF HomeSarap head to now that its presence online and within the real environment inside BF Homes has been felt?

For all of you, my readers and food enthusiasts, I am happy to present to you my interview with BF HomeSarap founder and food stylist Ditas Antenor.

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To begin with, Ditas Antenor worked in the corporate world as an advertising executive and worked with her employer’s big-time clients. After more than a decade managing multinational accounts in various multinational ad agencies, she moved on to the production side and there she became a food stylist. She even spent time in the United States to learn about food styling (for print and broadcast).

“I decided back then to take up food styling because I made plans regarding my career ahead of time,” Antenor recalled. “I really planned ahead. I could quit my nine-to-five job and engage in freelancing. So what would be a good, lucrative freelance job that I know I could be good at? That was food styling which is rare (in the Philippines.)”

Back then, food stylists in the Philippines were rare. Antenor became the fifth among the already established food stylists at the time. She eventually got hired by some clients and established herself nicely. Raised as an Alabang Girl, she and her children currently live in the Las Pinas City part of BF Homes subdivision.

BF HomeSarap’s origin and tremendous growth within Facebook

So how did BF HomeSarap start as a group within Facebook? It all started with a trigger on the part of its founder Ditas Antenor.

“There was a trigger. It was related to me and my kids moving into BF Homes subdivision coming from Alabang. Our house here in BF has been around for a very long time,” Antenor said. “My kids grew up with my cooking. Although they enjoy commercial foods like pizza or burgers that can be ordered, they can only eat those sometimes and ultimately they still love home-cooked food.”

Being the highly focused planner she has always been, Antenor had prepared menus for their family up to a few months ahead. She does the home cooking and, from time to time, her children cook adding variety. The love for home cooking, good food and relationships all connected with the beginning of BF HomeSarap.

“Then one day, I said to myself ‘maybe I should form a group’. I’m not an original member of the BF Homes community but still this is our home, even if I still maintain and occasionally stay in our Alabang house” Antenor recalled. “After doing an initial search for food-related FB groups that were related to BF Homes, I formed an FB group for BF by BF focused on home-cooked food.”

Along the way, the founder recalled her efforts on forming a name for the FB group that is unique and would strongly resonate with food enthusiasts and BF Homes residents and stakeholders. The result, clearly, was BF HomeSarap which was a clever combination of the name of the subdivision as well as the Tagalog word “Sarap” (English: Delicious).

“The name BF HomeSarap was formed out of my intention to include the local community’s name while reflecting people’s enjoyment of good home-cooked food. It had to be catchy and relevant at the same time. After searching for possible combinations of words, I came up with ‘sarap’ to partner with BF Homes,” she stated.

BF HomeSarap was created on April 2019 by Antenor reflecting her interest of good, home-cooked food her children would enjoy while establishing ties with the many members of the BF Homes community who share her interest.

The result? The membership of BF HomeSarap on Facebook went from zero to over eight thousand as of this writing. The members were a big mix of food enthusiasts as well as home-based cooks who are quietly selling food or drinks through their respective small-sized businesses. Already several small-time food sellers posted food or beverages for sale complete with contact numbers, prices, ways on how to avail of ordered items and the like. BF HomeSarap excludes the bigger, commercial food sellers giving more space and priority to the small ones. Along the way, there were a lot of buyers who had been searching for tasty home-cooked food. The result is BF HomeSarap establishing itself as a very lively online community whose members are united by home-cooked food and delicacies.

Of course, not just anyone could join the BF HomeSarap FB group. With the help of a few friends (who lived in BF Homes for a long time) and her daughter, Antenor and her co-administrators carefully review the many pending applications of FB users who wanted to join in as well as the many private messages sent.

“The membership of BF HomeSarap just kept on growing fast. Along the way, we made sure it would not become just another buy-and-sell type of Facebook group. I really wanted it to be an online community about good, home-cooked food and BF Homes which will be engaged with good quality content from time to time. I really want community engagement,” she said.

To engage the BF HomeSarap group members, Antenor researched online about the latest food trends, what kind of food people like lately, cooking tips, recipes and the like. The result was her releasing unique content in the form of articles, short videos, special greetings and customized images that get posted in the group occasionally. This approach of hers helped keep BF HomeSarap interesting and engaging, and prevented it from becoming stale or getting too flooded with sales-related posts.

For the future, Antenor stated that she is still striving to come up with ideas to make life better for the sellers and buyers of the group. She is exploring how to establish a dedicated delivery system that will carry BF HomeSarap’s name and cater to the clients’ needs. She and her team are also looking for other enclaves around BF Homes that could possibly host the next edition of the BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair this year.

With almost 9,000 members counted (and growing) and continued daily engagement, BF HomeSarap is undoubtedly the premier FB group focused on home-cooked food with the people of BF Homes in mind. Even FB users from the rest of South Metro Manila noticed the group.

“BF Homes is very unique,” Antenor said in relation to the group’s phenomenal growth and influence.

The group is not even a year old, and already it achieved a lot of milestones even spawning three related groups: Merville HomeSarap, Antipolo HomeSarap and MetroEast HomeSarap.

Ditas Antenor’s Message to the Readers

“When I cook, I continue to engage the community. There is, indeed, a wealth of home-cooked food in this community. You just need to look for it. You just need to know who cooked it. Also, level up your food in terms of nutrition and quality. If you want good food for your family, aim for home-cooked. It can be cheaper and yet it can be prepared with the same love and care for the family.”


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Note: Article cover photo contains images from the book “SULÓ: Where Taste Was Style”, written by author/founder Erlinda Panlilio, published in 2015 by Anvil Publishing.